On ABC’s This Week and NBC’s Meet the Press, Homeland Security head Janet Napolitano focused on how “the system worked” on the Northwest Airlines flight that almost got blown to bits on Christmas day.
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I’m sorry folks but I don’t want Billy Bob Watson of Tupelo, Mississippi and flight attendant Arlene standing between me and certain death. Granted, when passengers and crew act heroically we should be grateful but I get kinda concerned when this becomes Homeland Security’s first line of defense.
Now did I expect Ms. Napolitano to say “we screwed up and this should never have happened”? Of course not. But I also did not expect her to keep emphasizing the role of the average citizen in fighting terrorism. Not a single person involved in saving that holiday flight was an air marshall or any sort of law enforcement officer. Napolitano said she didn’t want vigilantism but I sure got a mixed signal from her.
From what I’ve read it seems to me that we’ve got way too many “people of interest” on one list (about a half million) and too few on the “no fly” list. Abdulmutallab was on the “everyone who ever said something scary list” but somehow wasn’t on the no fly list. I’d be curious what the criteria is to be on these lists. Abdulmutallab was obviously on the wrong one.
Regardless, our government needs to lead with the assurance that they are learning from experience to protect us and not lead by telling me that I have to tackle the guy next to me when he sets his pants on fire.